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Checking PHP and URL cron events

In WP Crontrol version 1.16.2 a security hardening feature was added which prevents the code in a PHP cron event from being tampered with. You can read about PHP cron events here.

If you have PHP cron events in place prior to upgrading to this version then you will need to re-save your PHP cron events so the required security hash can be generated and stored alongside the PHP code and the events can continue functioning.

In WP Crontrol version 1.17 the URL cron type was introduced which uses the same security feature. You can read about URL cron events here.

What do I need to do?

If you have URL or PHP cron events in place on your site then you can check them by following the steps below. If you don't have any URL or PHP cron events then you don't need to do anything.

  1. Visit the Tools → Cron Events screen in the admin area of your site
  2. Click the "PHP events" filter at the top of the list
  • If you don't have any PHP cron events on your site then this filter won't appear
  1. Click the "Check and edit" link below each event that shows a "Needs checking" message
  2. Confirm that the PHP code in the event is as expected
  3. Click the "Update Event" button
  4. Repeat this for any further PHP cron events that show a "Needs checking" message
  5. Repeat this process for URL cron events by using the "URL events" filter at the top of the list

Will I need to do this again?

This is a one-off action that's required after updating WP Crontrol from a version prior to 1.16.2.

What if I no longer need one of the affected events?

You can delete an unwanted event by clicking the "Delete" link below the event.

What if I don't have permission to edit a PHP cron event?

See here for full information about PHP cron events. You'll need to temporarily enable the ability to edit PHP cron events in order to save the affected events.

What if the "Needs checking" message appears again?

If WP Crontrol is showing you a message saying one or more of your URL or PHP cron events need to be checked and you haven't just updated WP Crontrol from a version prior to 1.16.2, then it could either mean there is a real problem caused by tampering of the events, or it could be caused by the security salts on your site having been changed.

If the PHP code or URL in an event has been tampered with externally then WP Crontrol will refuse to execute the cron event when it runs in order to keep your site secure. You should carefully and fully check the PHP code or URL in the affected events. If you find unexpected changes then consult the "My site was hacked" page on the WordPress.org documentation site.

If the security salts in the wp-config.php file on your site have been changed then this invalidates the stored hashes for your URL and PHP cron events. Note that changing or rotating the security salts on your site will have several effects, including but not limited to:

  • Logging out all users and invalidating all security nonces
  • Invalidating hashes used within functionality such as comment moderation, Customizer controls, and widget management

The security salts on your site may also change if you move your site from one server to another and the salts in the wp-config.php file differ, or if you move your site from a staging environment to a production environment (or vice versa) and the salts differ.

In all of these cases, you should edit the affected URL and PHP cron events, make absolutely sure that their contents remains as intended, and save it again. This will cause the hash to be regenerated and saved and the event will begin working as expected once again.